View of Lek Yuen Bridge from
a Sha Tin area riverside bicycle path
The day I biked from Sha Tin to Wu Kai Sha (and back)
was one with lovely weather and beautiful blue skies :)
Its water may not be the cleanest in the world
but there are brave souls willing to crew on the
Shing Mun River Channel as well as jog alongside it!
Since I returned from the Netherlands earlier this month, dry, beautiful blue sky days have been few and far between; what with this January not only having had unusually cold days but also being unusually wet. So when the rare day with dry weather and comfortable temperatures has come along, I've made a point to go outdoors and enjoy the sun and the creature comforts it brings along with it.
As an example, today saw me spending a few hours on a beach in Cheung Chau; and even though it was to do some beach cleaning rather than sunbathing, I did manage to have a good -- and also fulfilling -- time. Then there was the day a few days after I returned from Amsterdam when, inspired by bicyclists galore I saw in action over in the Netherlands, I decided to go on my first ever bicycle ride in Hong Kong.
Looking back, it seems a bit strange that I'd go on a bicycle ride in the Japanese countryside before I'd go on a bike ride in the Big Lychee. I guess it's because it seems so much easier to go hiking in Hong Kong than go hiking in Japan or bike riding in the "Fragrant Harbour"!
Still, once I actually determined to do it, I found that going and renting a bicycle in Hong Kong isn't all that difficult to do -- and seems quite reasonable too, with the Tai Wai bike shop I rented my mechanical ride from charging HK$70 a day on a weekday (and HK$80 -- i.e., HK$10 more -- on weekends).
From what I've heard, the most popular leisure cycling route in Hong Kong takes one from Tai Wai -- or Sha Tin itself -- northwards to Tai Po. Rather than go along that 16 kilometer route on my first Hong Kong bike ride, I opted, instead, to go from Tai Wai westwards to Wu Kai Sha -- a shorter route one way, except that I ended up riding there and back again since the bike shop I rented my bicycle from didn't have a branch in Ma On Shan; so ended up riding around 16 kilometers in total!
What with conditions including cool (rather than cold or hot) temperatures and fairly low humidity levels, it really was a very pleasant maiden bicycling outing in Hong Kong for me. I really enjoyed the breeze that I felt as I peddled away on the bicycle. At the same time, I also had no compunction in stopping every so often to admire the view, take photos and just enjoy being out on a beautiful day.
As I got to realizing, in certain parts of Hong Kong, there do exist bike paths that are well designed, marked and maintained. The thing though is that, unlike with the Netherlands, bicycling is considered a leisure activity rather than an actual means of transportation that could actually be preferred to, say, taking a bus, train or tram, or even walking.
I guess the sense among the authorities is that Hong Kong doesn't possess ideal weather conditions for regular bicycling, what with there being a not insignificant amount of rainfall annually. On the other hand, as I think I am experienced now to say, the Netherlands isn't exactly dry as a desert either -- and yet the bicyclist is most definitely king there (and the country's king being among its millions of cyclists)! ;D